Panel: Iran's Nuclear Threat

David Albright and Karim Sadjadpour on stopping Iran's nuclear program.
9:12 | 11/13/11

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Transcript for Panel: Iran's Nuclear Threat
Last night the Republican presidential candidates took on the chief foreign policy crisis facing the United States today. Nuclear Iran potentially this week weapons inspectors said they finally have. In off the most strong evidence they say to see that Iran is still working on a nuclear device so can it be -- at this point. The candidate said yes. What's worth putting in place crippling sanctions it's worth working with the insurgents in the country to encourage regime change in the country. And if all else fails. If -- after all the work we've done there's nothing else we can do besides they'll take military action and of course you take military action I would not -- Military opposition I'm talking about the cover the opposition movement -- in the country. The issues that has not been race is that. This country can sanction. Iran in Central Bank right now and shutdown that country's economy. We should be working with Israel right now. To do what they did in Syria -- what they did in Iraq. Which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we here in Iraq is a nuclear one and then the world changed. He would need to discuss Iran's nuclear capabilities and if any of those ideas can -- -- -- Fully UN weapons inspector David Albright and carrying such a -- of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gentlemen thank you for being with us. This is really very very important -- what. Actually did he reports it didn't say that it Iran has the technology for a device right now. But knows how to you know. A crude nuclear device it's learned enough doesn't have that are the key nuclear material to do it. But it learned delighted -- and prior to 2004 had a well structured. Nuclear weapons program that if it hadn't stopped under tremendous international pressure in 2003. Probably would have succeeded to date. And it is the report saying -- predicting when a nuclear weapon can be bill. No it's not because it cited the report clearly says it's somethings have continued after this abrupt halt in 2003. But it's been it's been -- focused and it doesn't appear to -- for example know how to build a warhead. That can be put on a ballistic. Missile nonetheless this is going to be vis foreign policy issue for this president and the next president -- carrying. When you hear Mitt Romney say if all else fails yes military action against Iran. Most people missing including the administration that would have unintended consequences that at best it might delay but it would not be able to stop Iran. That's -- another point -- which is very important thing is that we often forget that. The largest anti government protest which took place in the Middle East over the last few as well actually in Tehran. And the summer of 2009. And when you talk about military action against you or any regime a regime which is deeply unpopular aren't ideologically bankrupt. You do according to Israeli estimates that could set back the nuclear clocked two to three years if there were to take military action but you could prolong this regime indefinitely. There's no I'm taking it by taking military action I think that's a great maxim from Napoleon which applies here that is when your. Opponent is destroying themselves get out of -- way. And it could also drive the program underground -- how. Counterproductive -- how productive would emitted from -- be. Boats centrifuge program which was what -- -- has this very hard to destroy its not like a reactor. That Israel -- Syria or reactor in Iraq and act which you have to worry about as you'll miss key part separate dual -- -- a couple of years which start. In -- rod -- essentially a Manhattan project to get the -- it's been very slow moving so far. I think it's aimed -- a nuclear weapon eventually. But if you attack them particularly despite preemptively taking out us small number of their nuclear sites -- all we know now. Then you could end up accelerating their struggle. And this is discussed would Rick Santorum says. Let's take the Israeli model and blow out like they did in Iraq and Syria and -- in Iraq and Syria dead. Buildings were -- above ground and secondly not fully constructed is not to say mission don't. Not but it's also very different kind of nuclear program we knew that if it's serious reactors is knocked down between him and it's been proven. We can't reconstitute very rapidly. But if you knock out some of the centrifuge plants and you don't knock out kind of the heart. And warnings of a centrifuge program where these are made where -- -- The scientists. That it may come and they can reconstitute pretty quickly it's a very different kind of nuclear program. -- -- I would say if someone knew how to not canal I'm sure Israel would have lower east rock but it doesn't know. And that's a key something to keep in mind. And obviously the US doesn't want Israel to go out there and and do that kind because what we haven't discussed is that if -- Iran is attacked -- got proxies or -- it's gone Hezbollah's hamas' got Hezbollah on Latin America. It's right next door to Afghanistan and Iran Iraq -- US. -- forces in targets arsenic could be a a huge proxy war against US target. That's absolutely right Christian when I talk to members of congress whether the from the Tea Party or from the Democratic Party. Does this mantra you hear over and over again this idea that our constituents want us to do nation building at home. And I think central -- of nation building -- home is reviving the American economy. And reducing our presence in the Middle East right. The two the one thing that could defeat those two objectives would be a military strike against Iran because I -- -- oil prices skyrocket. And -- that inflaming of the Middle East. But when somebody that Mitt Romney says you know President Obama and by the late President Bush -- well said that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon on my watch. And then he says it really won't if -- president so what is the solution -- how does one stop it can want. But would you eat candy and -- text so far it. Iran has been delayed -- nuclear weapon at the CIA report makes clear. That is if the international committee had not intervened very aggressively. They probably would have a nuclear weapon now. And so I think there's. A whole range of methods have been developed some Morse on -- and others such as cyber attacks sabotaging equipment. The senator assassinating the answer is yes and so some of them. We don't like. But -- have -- in effect sanctions are having an effective one of that and on heralded parts of sanctions has been it's made it much harder for run divide vital quit. It needs an eventual about sanctions who think it could bring Iran down is attacking and sanctioning the Central Bank can be wrong. But apparently also this administration doesn't want to do that because that would not just collapse its economy but. Rays and skyrocket oil prices which would affect the US economy so isn't the US in a real bind Kerry. It is I think that approach the Obama administration taking is taking is the opposite the Bush Administration took in 2003 against Iraq meaning. -- 2003 the United States took. Very harsh sanction. Very harsh action with a very weak international coalition this time around I think the Obama administration recognizes that. In order to to attain a robust international coalition which includes countries like China and Russia. We have to take milder unilateral action because those countries are not going to be on board were very harsh action. And one other thing people I think maybe mixing apples and oranges here looking at the Arab Spring and saying well let's help the insurgents on the rebels in Iran. Of which there on on -- -- and on insurgents and rebels in the on as a population this disaffected. Is it possible. Adds to it -- to have regime change my house doesn't seem to me. I think the for the US to effect regime -- -- I think almost unanimously the feedback we hear from political agitators and human rights activists -- -- is that. US military action -- -- Israeli military action would be tremendously detrimental to their cause. I think the way we should help though opposition in Iran. Is by inhibiting the Iranian regime's ability to control information and control communications I tell Israelis in -- they have up. Thriving tech industry they should be helping the running opposition -- -- on the communication and information barriers. I mean they ended -- -- did -- -- secret is one way would be to negotiate. Some kind of arrangement that's very politically unpopular in this country. -- you see Iran's nuclear capability. Six months a year from now. I think it these methods that have been developed -- to wearing it -- centrifuge program is not going very well now it's it's performed worse this year than last. Could there be another -- net and on the computer and I -- I mean endeavour's recent evidence that stocks that the organizers are still active. And so you had a situation where Iran is struggling to put in what they called -- and centrifuges but -- -- struggling with bad and instantly and so these methods have paid off. And and there are many are secret but they are delayed Iran's nuclear program and -- probably should be accelerated and actually be the focus is sort how do you develop these alternative methods to. Keep Iran from making a decision to build nuclear weapons thank you both very much indeed.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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